These spontaneous dances that pop up at various locale around the world are so inspiring to me. This one is on such a scale that it is mind boggling. This is what humans can do when they put aside distractions like religion, sexism, racism, class systems, etc.

You got to watch this one. It’s incredible. 

Advertisements

As I came out as being atheist to some of my very christian family members last week, I thought of how they would process this new information. They knew my husband and I have not been attending any church for at least seven or eight years. I know they thought we were just sick of being around mean spirited, hypocritical christians – and to some extent that was the case. However, this change to atheism wasn’t something that was decided overnight.

calendar pagesSo I decided it was time to backtrack to figure out when it was that I rejected the notion of christianity’s god. I remembered writing in one of my columns (I used to write for a national newspaper in South America) about how religion should not play a decisive roll in political decisions. In this column, written in July 2007, I admitted that I was not religious. Truth was, newspaper readers in one South American nation knew about this important information before my family did. But I knew this was not the time of my de-conversion.

I don’t know the exact date that I chose not to believe in god. I do know that it was during the fall before we moved from the Washington DC area (we moved in July of 2006).  I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it hit me – there is no god. Thirty-six years of living and breathing – and yes, preaching – christianity, and in a split second I realized it was all futile.

However, I did not automatically call myself an atheist…or even an agnostic; though, that is exactly what I was. In fact, I did not make this stated decision until a couple of months ago. That’s 3.5 years! What did I do during that time? Well, for a few months I did explore some other religions, including some pagan religions. Truth was, I did not believe in any of those gods either. After that, I did nothing.

I didn’t talk about religions or gods. I didn’t care. It simply was not an important factor in my life anymore. Moreover, I needed space. I needed time to heal from the many, many, many years of living life as a christian. I had to get all those skewed notions of morality out of me. I needed to replace my knee-jerk christian responses to life with rational ones. I had to come to terms with the reality that there is no god, there are no angels, there are no demons, there is no hell – and my life is my own to live.

Free. I was so free.

Earlier this past summer, I finally put a tag on myself again. I was an agnostic. Now I even say I’m an atheist.  I am also a humanist, thus the name of this blog (which is the phonetic pronunciation of human).  Since I no longer believe in a god that can right injustice, feed the hungry or heal the sick; there is so much humans need to do. Starting with this human.

Last week I posted about coming out about my atheism to my very conservative christian family on my FaceBook page. Other than one statement, things had been quiet on the home front. Then this morning my husband got THE phone call from his dear mother. Mom-in-law is a sweetheart and the primary reason we have not been more open about our non-religious stance.

I scathed by untouched and my husband took the brunt of the conversation. The first thing out of mom-in-law’s mouth was, “Do you believe Jesus is the son of god and that he died on the cross for our sins.” Hubby skirted the question and talked to mom-in-law for quite a while. He made some excellent points to her on why those who are religious should not be dogmatic about their stance (ie. christianity is the only way to god), but she returned to the same question over and over again.

In her eyes, if Hubby believed in Jesus, then he was saved. In the end, Hubby finally said, “Sure, Mom.” I know, no fireworks today. But what does it really matter? If she wants to believe he is saved, fine. Let her live and die in peace. Meanwhile, we continue to be atheists.

I admit it, all of my life I have been someone who questions authority – including, authority within the church (in my previous life as a christian). However, it wasn’t until I went to college after my children were all in school that I learned to question everything. It started with President George Bush. I voted for Bush for his first term, but it was during that term that I realized that I can and should question everything. I did not vote for him again.  Newspaper

While in college, I majored in print journalism and one of the the first things the instructors instilled in their students was to question everything. A favorite saying of one instructor was, “If your mothers says she loves you, check it out.” Since it was already in my nature to question authority, the mandate to question every person I interviewed as a journalist was absolutely natural for me.

I have never been a trusting person and my distrust lent itself to suspect even those closest to me. However, the one thing I never seriously questioned was my belief in god. I did question the existence of god once when I was about 20 years old. However, since I grew up in christianity, I was taught scripture from very, very young. During this particular period of questioning god, I went to a big field near my house to contemplate this dilemma and a scripture about how nature proves the existence of god came to my memory and quashed any doubts I had at the time.

As years went on, I fell back on that experience in the field for assurance without realizing I used a scripture from the christian’s bible to prove the existence of the christian god. I did not have the necessary tools at that time to make a more informed decision. It was not until many years later that I came face to face with the fact that the god of christianity was no more real than any of the various gods worshiped by humans.

In my ideal world, we would be taught to question the existence of gods instead of being taught to blindly accept some invisible being in the sky. We would be taught to deal with life’s issues the best we humanly can instead of relying on an unseen force to take care of things for us. When I questioned the existence of god, that is when I finally saw the futility of blind faith and the absurdity of relying on prayers for guidance in life.

What is my advice to any and all who believe in gods? If your god says he loves you, check it out! Question everything!

(I use the word “he” when referring to gods, because most gods worshiped by humans today are male)

Well, I did it. I told my family that I am an atheist. Sort of. I posted a CNN poll on my FaceBook page this week that asked, “Do you believe in God?” The atheists got a hold of this and voted up a storm. The figures looked like 33% – Yes and 67% – No. A nephew saw my post and voted then gave the results at the time of his vote. Another family member then asked he if was trying to say he did not believe in god.

This went back and forth until he said he struggled between being an agnostic and atheist. I said I had the same struggle. Then my daughter piped in that she did, too. I imagine our VERY christian family (as in ministers…including me at one time) was having a fit, but no one said a word. Then late last night, that same family member said her life was a testimony to the existence of god (because she had been in a serious car accident and recovered).

She went on to say that if anyone should be mad at god, it was her, but she thanked god for giving her a second chance at life. Hmmm. Does she think I am mad at her god? She doesn’t understand that one cannot be mad at something that does not exist.

The good news is that at least a part of my family knows how I feel now. We all know what the bad news is. I will have to hear the hellfire and brimstone sermonettes at every turn, as will my nephew and daughter. However, the family doesn’t know there are several more in the family who have yet to come out of the atheist closet. The holidays this year should be very interesting.

Thought Of The Day

God probably does not exist and if she does, she looks nothing like any gods created by humans.
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism

Twitter Updates

Atheist Blogroll

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!